Canada: from slow to go with TPP

CPTPP will open new markets for Canadian farmers

Canada will join the 11-member Asia-Pacific trade pact, a government source confirmed on Tuesday, saying “Canada has secured real gains” in talks to agree a deal. Trade officials signed off on a final text earlier in the day after a meeting in Tokyo to overcome challenges such Canada’s insistence on protection of its cultural industries.

Ron Bonnett of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was critical to Canadian farmers.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership members have concluded talks and will sign an agreement this March.

“Joining the CPTPP will open unprecedented new markets for Canadian farmers producing export-oriented goods, such as red meats, grains and oil seeds,” he said.

However, the group is calling on th egovernment to make good on commitments to farmers of supply-managed products, such as dairy and poultry, “particularly as NAFTA talks continue.”

“CFA is adamant that the Canadian government stand firm on its position to build on NAFTA’s success and to not concede any additional market access for supply-managed commodities,” he said.

Cereals Canada too praises the agreement.

“This agreement is the best opportunity available to improve export competitiveness, growth and diversification for the Canadian cereals sector”, says Cam Dahl of the organization.

The organization feels the improved trade environment gives Canadian farmers and exporters benefits from improved access to other markets including lower tariffs and added predictability for business.

The TPP-11 members now take in about 20 percent of Canadian exports of wheat.

Dahl suggests that other countries have already expressed interest in joining the pact and take advantage of a steadily growing market for food products.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance

“This is fantastic news. The future for Canada’s globally competitive agri-food exporters looks a lot brighter now that we will have competitive access to key markets in the Asia-Pacific and especially Japan,” said Brian Innes of CAFTA.

Japan is Canada’s third largest export market for agri-food, accounting for $4 billion in 2016 and has remained a strong advocate for the agreement, according to the organization.

Vietnam and Malaysia are cited as countries where Canada will gain a competitive advantage over the U.S., in which the successful Republican candidate for President made a well promoted withdrawal from the agreement during the run up to the 2016 election.

Innes said that “whether you are a farm family who depends on world markets, a processor, an exporter, or someone who lives in a community supported by the sector, this agreement will mean more stability and prosperity.”

“Our competitors are not standing still and already have free trade deals in these markets, he said.

Australia and Chile have free trade agreements with Japan. The Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement will cut 85 percent of Japanese tariffs on European agriculture and food products.

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